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Real Estate Tax Revenue Surge Gives Clue Of How Many Fled NYC For Long Island

John Minchillo
Southampton, N.Y.

A real estate transfer tax could be an indicator of how many New Yorkers might have moved to eastern Long Island during the pandemic.

The Community Preservation Fund is a 2 percent tax on real estate transactions in the five towns that make up eastern Long Island (Riverhead, Southold, Shelter Island, Southampton and East Hampton).

Those towns became a safe haven for New York City residents who sought less densely populated, more spread out communities amid the pandemic. The beach communities were packed earlier than normal starting in March when COVID-19 hit New York.

This year, the fund has generated $72 million. That’s nearly 37 percent more than last year.

This is just one snapshot of what towns on eastern Long Island can use to put together their budgets for next year. They anticipate more services will be needed for more people, with less money available.

And the fund isn’t something they can raid for cash. It’s intended for the preservation of open space, historical sites and water quality.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.